Bay Journal Op-Ed: Delaying Climate Change in Bay TMDL Model Correct Decision

As previously reported on Conduit Street, Rena Steinzor and David Flores argued in a Bay Journal op-ed that climate change effects should be incorporated into the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) target loads that will be used for the development of the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs). The Phase III WIPs must show how each Bay watershed state will meet its target loads for reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment going into the Bay by 2025. Recently,…

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MACo’s Weekly County News & Notes… from Twitter

The social media site Twitter has become a fast-moving setting for news, information, and advocacy on public affairs. We welcome followers of MACo’s own Twitter feed for updates from the Conduit Street blog and other MACo hot topics and often use Twitter to reach our own audience and to hear from others following the same issues as county leaders. Here are some tweets that caught our eye this week: In light of the tragic school shooting in Florida, our…

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Pension Benefits Increase Would Create an Unbalanced System

MACo Research Director Robin Clark Eilenberg testified in opposition to House Bill 1042, "Law Enforcement Officers' Pension System - Benefit Cap Increase", before the House Appropriations Committee on February 22, 2018. This legislation increases the limit for a normal service allowance for a member of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System from 60% to 65% of the member’s average final compensation. Seven counties currently participate in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (LEOPS), and this would…

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Bill Fast-Tracking Inmate Psych Bed Placements on the Move

A bill which provides an expedited process for placing defendants unable to stand trial because of serious mental illness into treatment is on the move. HB 111 sponsored by Delegate Barron passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with amendments and is on the House floor. MACo supported HB 111 as it addressed the crucial issue of lack of treatment beds and prompt placement of defendants court-ordered into treatment due to serious mental illness. These defendants…

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Let Counties Compete for Complete Streets

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of House Bill 535, "Transportation - Complete Streets Program - Establishment", on February 22, 2018. This bill creates a competitive grant program making Transportation Trust Fund dollars available to local governments for the planning and design of Complete Streets projects. Complete Streets strives to establish roads and through-ways that accommodate many forms of transportation and continue working to innovate and…

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Senate Committee Kills Governor’s Septic Bill

The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee gave an unfavorable vote (7-4) on Governor Larry Hogan's "Septic Stewardship Act of 2018." The Administration bill, SB 314, made three primary changes to the septic system account under the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF). First, the bill exempted a septic system owner from paying the BRF if: (1) the owner has a best available technology nitrogen removal (BAT) septic system; and (2) the owner did not receive a…

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What’s Up With All These Highway User Bills?

Perhaps local governments are making progress moving the needle, or maybe it's just because it's an election year - but the 2018 session has experienced an inundation of bills seeking to restore highway user revenues to local governments. MACo's key legislative initiative bill is the Local Infrastructure Fast Track for Maryland Act - a consensus bill seeking to restore highway user revenues for counties and municipalities according to a phased-in schedule that the Administration can get…

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Join MACo In Calling For A Local Infrastructure Fast Track

A perennial MACo initiative, counties have called for the return of their fair share of transportation-sourced revenues to fund their roadwork for years. This year, MACo's initiative calls for a Local Infrastructure Fast Track - a #LIFT4MD - to bring local governments back their historic 30 percent share of transportation revenues from the State's Transportation Trust Fund. It also calls for an assessment of the state of local infrastructure in Maryland, and for the State…

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PA Legislator Takes Regional HHS Liaison Role

  It was expected that State Representative Matt Baker, R-Tioga, would not run for his 68th Legislative District re-election, but surprisingly he ended his term his term sooner than expected.   Baker resigned from serving the 68th District Monday, Feb. 19. to begin serving a larger population as the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs' Regional Director. His new position reports to the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under the Trump…

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NACo Profiles Trump Administration Infrastructure Proposal

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Trump Administration has proposed a far-reaching plan to boost infrastructure across multiple modes and at every level of government. To help county officials better understand the proposal, and its potential effects on local priorities, the National Association of Counties has developed its own analysis of the package. From the NACo description: These principles, titled “Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America,” expand upon the “Infrastructure Initiative” white paper…

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